Published on January 27, 2014 | by Talal Alhumaid0
Russell Brand’s ‘homophobic slur’ doesn’t phase UALComedian Russell Brand has been accused of homophobia after calling a group of Cambridge University students “Harry Potter poofs” while giving a speech at the Cambridge Union.
The celebrity made the remark in front of a crowd of 800 people as he was trying to keep them quiet, sparking anger from gay rights groups. The Cambridge University Student Union LGBT+ society has called for Brand to apologise which, as of yet, he has not.
Filip Bigos, President of UAL’s LGBTQ society, told Arts London News what he thought of the controversy: “When it comes down to Russell’s ‘homophobic slur,’ I personally would not be offended by it,” he said.
“Not because I am used to gay jokes, but simply because stand-up comedians tend to create an atmosphere in which they can get away with these jokes. For sure, if he had been a professor, or an official representative of the university or the students’ union, this wouldn’t have been acceptable, as one would have to consider every individual in the audience,” he continued.
“Not because I am used to gay jokes, but simply because stand-up comedians tend to create an atmosphere in which they can get away with these jokes” Filip Bigos
“People do indeed need to know the boundaries of what is funny and what is offensive. However, in a situation where a stand-up comedian is delivering a speech to students, I would not say this is a big issue, and it has probably been given unnecessarily big media coverage.”
Cambridge University’s LGBT+ society’s president, Charlie Bell, has a different view on the matter, saying: “It’s unacceptable. The word gay, or similar, is used as a jokey insult in schools and workplaces across the country, and has been shown time and again to intimidate and upset gay people.”
“Someone in a prominent media position like Brand should be standing up to kick this kind of bullying” – Charlie Bell
“Someone in a prominent media position like Brand should be standing up to kick this kind of bullying, which is what it is, and not further justify its use. The word poof is plain offensive. He may have misspoken, but he should apologise unreservedly and immediately,” he added.
At the event Brand wore a tank top that read, “My way of joking is to tell the truth.” He spoke frankly about a variety of topics, including Julian Assange, the “vacuous” illusion of Hollywood, and the Hindu festival Garnesh Chaturthi.